There is no “I” in team – but there is certainly a leader.
Teams are a fixture in the workplace, and they exist at all levels of an organization. With respect to employee engagement, team leadership is essential to success because the team must understand what needs to be accomplished.
According to the recent Inc.com article, Leading Teams: Find the Right Balance Between Hands-on and Hands-off, Samuel Bacharach reveals the balance required for effective team leadership. Do you want your team concerned with implementation, or do you want them to be creative and innovative?
Team leadership is the ultimate balancing act, as you want your team to have individual freedom – but sustain the desire to accomplish something as a unit. Leaders want to preserve the dynamic energy that makes teams so successful without channeling chaos.
The best leaders are able to inspire teams to drive results and think outside the box. Here are the four secrets to leading teams:
- Encourage discussion, but not too much of it:
Discussion and the exchange of ideas allow for greater creativity and innovation. Be careful to avoid meetings and discussions that have repetitive themes; this causes redundancy and nothing gets accomplished. Stay focused.
- Give autonomy, but define parameters:
A good team leader defines the end goal and allows the team to move forward without micro-managing every detail. The most successful teams thrive off of trust from their leader.
- Celebrate the collective and recognize the individual:
The team leader should celebrate the collective team, but be aware of who completes what. Team members who made significant contributions to a major project (which was completed successfully) should be hailed for their individual accomplishments. The team members that are recognized the most will inspire other individuals to raise the bar, due to a healthy sense of competition.
- Encourage opposing views but beware of obstructionists:
Teams could not be successful without opposing viewpoints to challenge processes and become more efficient; however, there is a fine line between constructive criticism and a negatively-spirited opposing view. Decide when to step in and filter negative comments from productive feedback.
If you can achieve the ultimate balancing act and lead teams to both implement and innovate, then your success as a team will be infinite.
What do you think is the most important aspect of team leadership? What makes it different than leading an individual?